Oh I do like to be…

(by peter)

This week I’ve been tasting my way through hundreds of wines in the fine cause that is the Decanter World Wine Awards.

One of the stalwart members of my judging panel (I chair Chile at the DWWA) is a very successful chef and restaurateur.  Ordinarily he is an even-keeled sort of man, but he has worn a troubled brow over the last few days. The reason? I told him about the dish that Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi cooked on Saturday Kitchen this past weekend, and for which I was tasked with finding a wine.

That dish, for those who missed it, was halibut in a pork pie sauce with pink grapefruit.

It’s fair to say it caused a bit of a stir on the show and on the twitter-waves. Susie and I had actually cooked it up prior to filming last week (blitzing a pork pie isn’t a straightforward culinary operation…) Normally, we do this to help us in our selection of the wine. This time, we were just downright fascinated to see how it tasted.

The result? ‘Interesting’ would definitely be the most apt description…And a fullish-bodied rosé the most suitable pairing. I went for the succulent yet elegant Secano Estate Pinot Noir rosé 2010, Leyda, Chile (from £7.99, Marks & Spencer) to cope with the succulent pork, not overwhelm the halibut and to avoid clashing (as a red might) with the pink grapefruit.

Predictably, show host James Martin (a notorious rosé-phobe) was unimpressed with the pink stuff, taking the opportunity to express a penchant for beer instead. No surprises there. Undaunted, both Claude and Anthony Demetre (of the wonderful Arbutus and Wild Honey), together with studio guest Ed Byrne, seemed very happy with the wine.

‘It has the right acidity for the dish – it’s a nice rosé for beautiful weather,’ commented Claude. Anthony, meanwhile, termed it ‘wonderful’.

Anthony was cooking something a little more conventional for his dish: lemon and honey spatchcock chicken with quinoa and broad bean salad. For this wholesome dish I opted for the honeyed, pithy Finest Fiano 2009 (Tesco, £6.99), which went down very well.

‘A bargain, fantastic’, said James. Anthony was enthusiastic: ‘It really goes well with the lemon and the chilli: really good’. Claude was similarly pleased, as were the chef’s table guests and Ed Byrne, who quipped it was ‘ideal as a 10:30am wine’.

My choice for Ed’s ‘heaven’ dish of chilli-glazed sticky ribs was another rosé – prompting many to ask whether I’d done this deliberately (I protest innocence…) That rich glaze really needed a bit of sugar and body in the wine so I went for the succulent, leafy Cono Sur Carmenère rosé Reserva (£8.99, Waitrose).

The wine bits this week were shot in Clacton-on-Sea and the programme is available via the BBC iplayer until this coming Saturday (16th April). The wine segments are at 15:35 and 56:20.